Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, and one is gold.
In case we needed further proof that I cannot tell the future, I had no idea that 2016 would be the year I made a million new friends. I have pretty solid old friendships, and didn't feel the need to branch out, fall in love (for the lack of a better more friendship related term), have more social connections. I didn't know that I'd find myself in exciting fun new friendships that would take me to Canada, on road trips up the PCH, or to a coffee shop every single morning, that would have me considering surfing for the first time, wearing purple eyelashes, trying to be more like a pineapple.
Old friends, the gold friends, who know your stories, and will remember them and laugh with you about them for the millionth time. Old friends who won't judge you for your choices, you know 100% sure, because if they would've judged you for your choices, they would've done it by now. Old friends, who you have years of trust and faith and wiggle room with. Who can tell you when you're repeating mistakes, or when you're being too chicken and they've seen this exact situation work out great for you before. Who gawk at how fast your nephew is growing up, because they remember when your sister just announced she was pregnant. Who know who you were, can appreciate how far you've come.
We rarely need reminding of how important our old friends are, our true friends, our life longers, our bridesmaids, future God mothers (or fathers) to our children. Especially as we get older, we hold on to our friends for DEAR FREAKING LIFE because we hear all the time how much harder it is to make friends in adulthood. The oldies, the goodies, the ones we will never let go.
But remember, even those old friends were new friends once.
As God brings a litany of new friends into my life, I feel myself appreciating the solid state of my old friends, and enjoying all the freshness of the newbies. This brings a sports reference to my mind, which is how I know John has officially permeated my brain- it's like Hall of Famers and Rookies of The Year. Both famous. And awesome.
New friends, though, Rookies of the year, if you will, bring so many different things to the table:
Appreciation that you are still interesting, cool, and fun.
Sometimes when I don't connect with someone I'm talking to, I think OMG this is it, I've officially become lame and boring and uninteresting and I don't have anything to say and why would anyone even like me anyway besides my old friends who have to like me because time says so. OF COURSE my old friends still love me, we hung out when I was cool and hip and could get into all the bars for free (not that I still can't do that, thank you very much), and was full of life and potential and funny one liners. OF COURSE THEY LOVED ME THEN. BUT NOW?! HOW IS ANYONE GOING TO LOVE ME NOW?!
But new friends make me feel like HALE YEAH. My jokes are funny, even though I've told them a million times, I do indeed still have great perspective, enough for people to travel across the country to just hang out with me, that even new people can see that I bring value, and fun, and inspiration to their lives, without years of proof. That my contribution to their lives from the very beginning is worth investing time in. That's a confidence builder, a personality affirmer, a beautiful thing to appreciate if I've ever heard of one.
Making new friendships is kind of like dating in a way. It's kind of like realizing that someone finds you attractive, and you're like Yeah. I still got it. ;) (Just for the record, John and my old friends always make me feel like I still got it. Because I still do have it. Booya. But just in case I doubt them and think they are just blinded by years of love, my new friends are proof!)
The chance to retell your story your way with your new perspective.
This has been the most surprising revelation to me. I've always appreciated that my old friends were THERE for my biggest moments in history, they know the characters and the climax of my stories and were there when the plot thickened and when it fizzled out. Sometimes you just want to call and be like "Remember Susie? Yeah THAT Susie, anyway did you know that she married BOB?!" without having to explain who Susie is and who Bob is and why that is even remotely interesting.
But the fun part about new friends is getting to retell that story. Probably not Susie & Bob's story, because, really who cares, but your story. How many times have you called up an old friend and rehashed how you chose your life path? Probably not very many times, probably zero, because they were there for the whole thing. But now, in your wise way, you can retell that story with the hindsight that gives you 20/20 perspective. It's incredibly therapeutic. You can make that story have any tone you want- with complete control over how you share your stories, your life path, how you got to where you are. Including details that you could only add now that you're through it. Excluding details that you realize weren't important. Pulling out the meaning and the message- I love this part.
You learn so much more about yourself when you have to talk about who you are from the beginning. It's not just your story itself but HOW you tell it that shows you who you are.
I love looking back and thinking about moving to Australia, and how that's played a huge part in my confidence in life. I love telling about CJ coming to my summer school classes because we were just so connected at the hip, or how about dancing five nights a week, because when we were going through it that was just, like, normal. SO many things in retrospect are NOT NORMAL, but they felt so freaking normal, or even insignificant. And when I tell my new friends, and they react like HOLY HEAVENS YOU DID WHAT?! It gives me a chance to really appreciate the cool things I've done to get to where I am, to enjoy my story all over again. To be able to surprise people with Fun Facts About Me (I speak fluent French!) that have played such a huge part in my life story, that makes people go woahhhhh, whaaa? Maybe this just goes back to feeling cool again...
An excuse to do all kinds of new things.
Every new person is a whole new world. (A whole new worllddddddddd, a magic place I never knewwww.) They have new perspectives, and different hobbies, connections, skills, passions. It's LITERALLY like discovering a new country- with new beaches, history, cool places to eat, a new culture, sometimes a new language, new sports, celebrities, fashion. I mean just think about HOW COOL IT WOULD BE TO DISCOVER AN ENTIRELY FUNCTIONING COUNTRY that you never even knew existed.
Each person is like a travel guide, showing you the ins and outs, and why it's so cool to visit there. DUDE EVERY NEW FRIENDSHIP IS LIKE A FREAKING VACATION. I am getting really fired up about this metaphor.
I LOVE thinking about the new things my friends have shown me or taught me or shared with me, and how much fun and color they have added to my life. Sometimes they are LIFE CHANGING, and sometimes they are fleetingly scary. Don't even get me started on the people you meet through new friends, the connections you make, the new foods, activities & make up products you'll try, oh how beautiful the world is when you realize you have so much more left to discover.
The ability to focus on the present.
As great as it is to relive the good ol' days, to tell old stories and remember old memories, sometimes it's just as nice to NOT do that. You know how hard it is to chat for hours about memories with someone who you didn't share those memories with? You know what's a lot easier? Talking about the present, which you do share with your new friend. Digging deep into what's CURRENTLY going on, your hopes & dreams for your future, because you literally have no other choice. Sure, you'll tell your history, but you also don't have to.
And don't you also find yourself doing more ACTIVITIES with new friends? It's just like dating, you're always going on new dates with your new beau right? And then you get comfy and start Netflixin, which is just as enjoyable, but what's obviously great about friendships is that you can have your Netflix & chiller andddd go on fun new dates. Friendships are polygamous. AND they can get along. What I'm basically saying here is that you can have a ton of sister wives. AWESOME. This is a great segway.
You're making the world a smaller, more connected place.
An even more fulfilling part about making new friends for myself is sharing them with my old friends. I really enjoy bringing all my friends together and making the BEST SQUAD EVER. I love watching new friends connect, forming their own little recipe of awesomeness, collaborating and shrinking the world into a Pangea of vacationable spots. (DAMN my metaphors are on fire today.)
And a lot of the time when you make new friends, it's with people who are looking to make MORE new friends. (Who have just moved here, are thinking about moving here, have just started their own business or a new job). And what a blessing you are to be able to say "Hey I've got ten people I think you'd really connect with" and then sharing all these amazing benefits of new friends with those people. It's just the gift that keeps on giving, let me tell you.
Be generous with who you are (thanks Amy), and be generous with who your friends are, too.
Long story short, keep your old friends, and be excited for the new ones. There's so much fear when you're one of those people who really needs new friends, but I am inviting you to replace that fear with excitement. Paige has a great blog post about making new friends after moving, and you can read that here. And when you make those new friends, BE PUMPED. A whole new world awaits.
Cheers to my new friends & my old, I'd be so much less cool without you ;) <3